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Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood

Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood

Before he became known as America’s most famous artist in the 1930s, Thomas Hart Benton was painting backdrops for film makers. In Fort Lee, N.J., known now as the first Hollywood. That’s right: Between 1913 and 1917, Benton was watching and assisting film directors as they told their stories on a huge scale. And he [...]

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Just a Few More Roadside Attractions

Just a Few More Roadside Attractions

It’s been said that whenever life in Manhattan got to be too much for author James Agee, he’d grab his mistress, hop in a car and head south. His favorite venues of choice on the road were a relatively new phenomenon, created just for the automobiles of the 1940s. They were auto courts – a series [...]

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The Allure of European Deco Carpets

The Allure of European Deco Carpets

It was a rebellion of sorts. Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and a desire to simplify the design of Persian carpets, a number of European innovators in the 1920s began to explore the possibilities of Art Deco. “They wanted to  break out and do something new rather than traditional – and create something [...]

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Adrienne Neff: Handprinted Wallpaper

Adrienne Neff: Handprinted Wallpaper

A background in interior design and an ear to the ground led Adrienne Neff to wallpaper design in 2009. But hers is not just any kind of wallpaper, and it certainly features no ordinary designs. Neff recruits gifted artisans to carve patterns into blocks of rubber, 27 by 20 inches square, then coat them with [...]

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Opening Up an Original Eichler Home

Opening Up an Original Eichler Home

Architect John Klopf is hanging ten on a wave of midcentury moderns in California. After graduating with a masters from U.C. Berkeley, he set up his practice in 2001, and renovated and remodeled his first Eichler home in 2002. Since then, his firm has taken on almost 100 Eichlers and other midcentury homes. “About 2007, [...]

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Richard Avedon’s Portraits of Power

Richard Avedon’s Portraits of Power

Two seminal bodies of photography by one of the great American portraitists of the 1960s and ’70s soon will be on display in Philadelphia. Richard Avedon: Family Affairs will open on April 1 at the National Museum of American Jewish History in that city. The two projects include Allen Ginsberg’s family, Paterson, New Jersey, May [...]

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Jim Marshall’s Iconic 1960s Photos

Jim Marshall’s Iconic 1960s Photos

Jim Marshall’s success as a photographer can be attributed to his insistence on one non-negotiable term from his subjects: Access to everything. “He’d rather not be paid and not eat than not have total access,” says Amelia Davis, his former assistant. A number of his heretofore unseen photos are about to be published in a [...]

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Mohamad Kanaan’s New Mirror Chairs

Mohamad Kanaan’s New Mirror Chairs

A poem, a chair, a mirror, and a memory. That’s the essence of Mohamad Kanaan’s newest project, called Mirror Chairs The 25-year-old, who studied architecture at the American University of Beirut and earned his MFA from the Art Institute in Chicago, has created three odes to his childhood. The poem narrates a personal memory, like [...]

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Michael Graves, Architect: 1934 -2015

Michael Graves, Architect: 1934 -2015

Some of us have been filling his teakettles with water since the 1980s, while others have been filling his cookie jars with spare change for a decade or more. But it’s Michael Graves’ “Images of a Grand Tour” that fills us, in turn, with true wonder and amazement. The 257-page tome is filled with hand [...]

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Vintage Lighting from Futility Studios

Vintage Lighting from Futility Studios

A biostatistician during the week, Joseph Wislar restores and customizes vintage cars on the weekends. Currently, he can boast of a ’59 Chevy and a ’65 Econoline; he just sold a 1963 Corvair. That leaves him with a bounty of spare auto parts, so he’s taken to reassembling them into new forms and functions. For [...]

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